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At 11:00AM today which is a SUNDAY, I get a phone call from a stranger. Naturally I don't pick up, and someone leaves me a voicemail. I was still napping so I figured I will check my phone later, but I also hear the notification letting me of a new text message. I check, and in the exact wording and grammar, it says "Hi OP.this is tom Calling u regarding rph Position." "reach out to me at number"
I've never received such a poorly written text message on a professional level, so it was an hard red flag, and I decided not to return the call. However, at 12:30 PM, this person called again! For a moment, I hesitated, but I figured maybe he was just in desperate need of coverage, so I made the mistake of picking up the phone. He hung up abruptly but immediately called again. When I picked up the call this time, I was connected to 'Tom.' Without any introduction, he said, 'Hey, it's Tom. Are you available on Tues/Thurs/Friday?' in a rushed manner. I was totally taken aback as this is not how I imagined the conversation would start.
I said I was flexible with my schedule but would need to know other details to confirm as I didn't know anything about this guy nor the pharmacy. Of note, he found my resume on a job board which I must have posted months ago, and just cold-called me. He then asked me when the earliest day I could come in to work was. I told him I was not available to come in until next Thursday, but I would need to know more about his store before making any commitments since I have no prior information about this store and what this job entails. He abruptly cut me off and told me it's just like any regular retail store, providing virtually no details about the kind of service they provide, hours of operation, or the number of staff on site. I also ask for the location, and he just vaguely describes where it is, instead of telling the store name???
He again asked, 'Can you cover Tues/Thurs/Fri? I have a thing with my wife I am working on, and I need those days off.' At this point, I had had enough and told him I would review this and get back to him, but he was free to pursue other candidates if he wished. He responded by asking exactly WHEN I would get back to him, stating that there were other candidates waiting to hear back. I told him that if that was the case, then I might not be the most suitable person for this role. He then changed his tone and offered me more hours, but I told him I was not looking for additional hours and had limited availability. I was so fed up at this point, didn't even want to continue the conversation, so I told him to move on to the next candidate, and he said hung up. By far this is the worst "professional" conversation I've had in my career history. Needless to say, I looked for this place on google map, and the review says 'tom' had cussed out a patient when he asked if the prescriptions are ready. How bizzarre.
I used to love working at Targrt, but after I transferred locations, I cannot stand management. The store is complete chaos which I really dont mind, but I don’t think I can handle management anymore.
I recently saw my health specialist and he suspects that the stress from this job is causing my health conditions to flair up, so I think it would be best to leave.
However, I’m the type of person who likes to fix things. Ideally, I want to talk to HR about my long list of concerns and give them a deadline of 2 months to start improving before I put in my 2 weeks. I don’t expect anything to change, but it goes one of two ways. 1. they change and my problem is solved. 2. they dont change and I leave and the problem is solved.
Leaders seem to like me and I am a top performer. What do you guys think are the chances that anything will change?
Okay, here’s my attempt at a NOP fanfic.
The Nature of Predators is made by u/SpacePaladin15
Just a few tidbits before we get started. I’m not sticking close to the cannon, so don’t be surprised when groups operate differently from their real NOP counterparts. I’m going for a “dark time line” kind of situation. There are going to be war crimes and lots of devil’s advocate nonsense, so this fanfic may rustle your jimmies. The start of this story takes place on Sillis and is only told from a single Arxur supply officer’s POV.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Memory transcription subject: Varce, Cattleship Δ1242, Sillis Date [standardized human time]: December 4, 2136
Finally… After mindlessly double checking and triple checking weapons and herbivore feed inventory it was time to get some fresh air. The raid itinerary had originally slated us to landfall 36 hours ago, but then a small human fleet lurched into our FTL disruptor grid. The grid was deployed with the intent to prevent prey ships from escaping, but hey, happy accidents.
I looked around the squad that I would be overseeing during prey extraction. Their faces ranged from agitated to giddy, all hungry. Starvation prior to deployment was standard practice for lower enlisted. It made them extra violent which was perfect for propaganda. Having a full relaxed Arxur on shift wouldn’t be near as terrifying for the pseudo-sapient snack bags.
Of course not all were starved, officers like myself needed to keep a cool head while procuring desperately needed food for the people of Wriss. It is my job, as one of the Dominion’s loyal servants, to ease the suffering of sapient lives throughout the known universe. I should clarify, that while I am somewhat defective, I’m not some delusional prey loving nut-job. I just care about sapients more that the average Arxur, that’s all.
The cargo doors of the craft hissed open as eye burning natural light entered the space. After I recovered from my temporary blindness, I barked out orders to my subordinates and began driving the refrigeration cart out of the ship. Its anti-gravity motors hummed as Arxur marched alongside it. Except for Tarth, lazy ass was perched on the cart’s lid with a ranged rifle shouldered. He says he does it to “be a lookout”, but we both know that’s bullshit. I let him get away with it though, what’s the point of having authority if you don’t use it to let your friend do stupid crap?
We had been dropped off at ground zero of a conventional bombing zone. Ruble from buildings with twisted bit of chitin sticking out covered the ground. Troops passed any worthwhile pieces to the cart for preservation. Eating of scraps was forbidden. It would spoil the squad's appetite prior to any engagements with the tilfish survivors. Thinking about the impending carnage reminded me to activate the 360’ camera fixed atop the cart’s driver compartment. Maybe some of my footage would go into one of the hunting compilations that gets forcibly broadcast onto the media channels the prey’s young watch. I let out a throaty chuckle thinking about the fearful cries one of those forsaken abominations would make.
Tarth looked over to me. “What’s so funny blubber tail? All that prime officer food finally melt your brain.”
“No just thinking about the prospect of one of our hunts being used for entertainment, now get back to work “look-out”.”
“Eh… I’m not too sure any footage is going to be used from this raid. None of the Gojid Cradle footage got used since the brass didn’t want Arxur to be associated with killing sapients.”
“...True. Well I’ll film this anyway, maybe it could be used as b-roll footage for future human engagement training.”
“I’d prefer we didn’t run into any humans boss-man”
I grimaced at the thought, the chatty Arxur had a point. I’ve never killed a sapient before.
I had pushed the idea out of my head before, but it all came back to me. The whole reason Chief Hunter Shaza deployed 8000 of her ships to Sillis was to fight the humans, the tilfish were an afterthought in truth. I don’t really get why the humans were so keen on picking a fight with the Dominion. Chief Hunter Isif saved their entire species and in turn they started rattling a saber at Chief Hunter Shaza’s initial raiding group. Do they want to be at war with both the Federation AND the Dominion. Surely they understand that that would be a death sentence for such a small race with no backup colonies. It’s just so frustrating, we finally meet another sapient race and all they want to do is fight. We should be working together to wipe out the genocidal maniacs in the Federation.
“Hey Varce. Varce. Looks like that building over there is ripe for hunting. Just say the word.”
I perked up after being pulled from my dark thoughts. We were no longer surrounded by rubble and were at our first scheduled stop. A eugenics clinic that was likely filled with eggs that would top off the cart I brought along. I glanced at the life detection hardware built into the driver’s panel.
“Listen up. We’re here for the eggs in that building. It has 33 adult tilfish life signs inside. Don’t bother taking any of them alive, just put a hole in their heads and dump them in the cart. Eggs are our priority. EGGS. Don’t get too bite-y. There’s a bomb shelter down the road for that kind of behavior. Now get to it and make the Prophet proud!”
I stood by with Tarth and several auto-turret technicians as the rest of the squad swarmed all sides of the clinic. Per standard procedure, I had the techs set up an auto-turret for any surprise runaways. After a couple of minutes a tilfish on the second floor desperately crawled part way out of a window trying to escape. It fell to the ground after Tarth took out one of its weight bearing feet. The impact ruptured it chitin and it died shortly after. As Tarth began strolling over to retrieve the soon to be refrigerated carcass, several more tilfish landed on top of the now flattened meat pulp. Tarth threw himself to the ground as the auto-turrets made there tell-tell beeping noise. Now Tarth had to carry back three piles of meat pulp.
Tarth sat the meat piles down in front of the cart while laughing. “Prophet help me. My life just flashed before my eyes. That would’ve been such an underwhelming way to go. Thank the prophet I’m a master at dodging.”
“I wouldn’t exactly call collapsing to the ground in terror “masterful”, but yeah sure. At least your not dead. Now lets get this slop cleaned up and preserved.”
“Your just jealous of how awesome I looked. Also, that ankle shot I did was glorious. Admit it.”
Tarth went on stroking his ego for the next half hour as the cart was filled with delicious nutritious eggs and gooey bug parts. The cart’s driver panel indicated that we had gathered about 10,000LBS of food in total. A good haul so far, that would be enough to feed roughly a 140 Arxur for a week. I sent the cart back to the ship with an escort while everyone else headed to the nearby bomb shelter.
Once we arrived at our next scheduled location, courtesy of garbage prey
internet security, I had the auto-turret techs set up a perimeter around the shelter entrance. It’s not likely that someone would pull a fast one on us, but I’ve never been into gambling. While we waited for fresh empty carts to arrive, I went ahead and had the squad look around for any material to block up the bomb shelter’s ventilation ports.
After even more waiting, four refrigeration carts and some shelter cracking materials arrived. The plan for shelter cracking was tried and true. First, we would have a drill bore out a hole through the blast door. That would then rapidly be followed up with a flash bang to scare off anyone smart enough to shoot through the hole. This is then followed by several tear gas canisters and a smoke machine. The smoke would exit any ventilation ports and they would be subsequently sealed. After all that we then pump the place full of nitrous oxide, wait about 20 minutes, and breach the doors.
Often times there will be one or two prey smart enough to wear self-contained breathing apparatuses. For this reason, once the door is opened we send in something similar to what a human would refer to as a “Claymore Roomba”. About 20 seconds after activating the device I heard a loud BANG and sent in the initial breaching party. After the all clear, the carts and myself entered. Oh no. Near the entrance to shelter was what was left of four humans. SAPIENTS. I killed sapients. I gave the order. They are my responsibility. I’m effectively a murderer now. I know that it’s “war”, but still. That doesn't un-kill them.
I choked down my horror remembering what would happen if other Arxur saw me like this. I turned to Tarth. “Inspect these four for any useful equipment or identifying information. After that, bring it all to me”
I turned away and kept walking. I couldn’t look at their mutilated faces anymore, shards of clear poly-carbonate lodged in their skulls from the breathing mask they were wearing. Blackened blood peppering their bodies and surroundings. Those were someones kids, friends, lovers, and I took them away. I just destroyed families in one foul swoop.
I cleared my head as i walked into the auditorium filled with drowsy and unconscious tilfish. I ensured the cameras on all of the carts were on and gave the order. What came next was quite the sight
The little abominations screeched and squealed as my squad tore into them. Ripping the young away from the dazed brood-mothers, tearing the monsters apart like they deserved. Loyal and dedicated soldiers finally filling their stomachs after days of hunger. This is what it’s all about. Bringing smiles to the faces of sapients
. At this moment I could finally forget about the atrocity that happened to those four in the previous room. I started to salivate myself a little, I shouldn’t indulge though. This is a reward to the Arxur people, not me.
I cheerily hummed as the weak tilfish were tossed into the refrigeration carts. The cold would slow them down to nothing, but it wouldn’t kill them. Perfectly convenient for filling the cages back on the cattle ships. Watching over the cart’s weight readouts I guesstimated that this would be enough to feed about 680 Arxur for a week. It makes me so proud thinking about all the young wonderful Arxur that will get to enjoy these meals. How they’ll go to sleep with full bellies and grow strong. No deformations from malnutrition. Perfectly formed jaws with clean straight teeth. Unlike mine, jagged, crisscrossed, and malformed. I’ll make sure that they have better lives then me.
It’s the least I could do.
These thoughts were short-lived unfortunately. Tarth approached me with a bag crafted from the same materials as the pelts the humans wear. I took it silently and he went off to go get his fill.
I dug through the “backpack” as I would later identify it. The pack contained weapons, ammo, and holopads. Turns out the holopads required biometerics, but Tarth was kind enough to attach the associated severed thumbs to each. I went through and altered the security preferences to myself on all of them and glossed through one’s photo album.
I knew what I was going to see, but I punished myself
anyway. The dead human had a mate. Whether or not it was a temporary relationship, I don’t know. They had pictures of themselves standing in front of various earth locations. Monuments, beautiful scenes of nature you’d never see on a federation planet, relaxed on furniture with a furry quadrupedal predator. Things I’ve never seen in person and likely never will.
I robbed the human of all of this.
I put away the holopad and steeled myself. If I was going to have a breakdown, it would be in my quarters.
I quietly waited for the final stages of the shelter raid to wrap up and began planning the next step of today’s festivities. The entire squad would escort the refrigeration carts back to the cattle ship and we would then exchange them for one refrigeration cart and two cargo carts. After that we would search a nearby tilfish military base for heavy munitions and any high value ship related equipment and materials.
There was a bit of a delay at Cattleship Δ1242. The other squads were as successful as mine, so we had to wait for a refrigeration cart to be freed up. I took the opportunity to drop off the human pack in my room and check the current raid situation. Thankfully there weren’t any notable hiccups in the raid from a global perspective. The human FTL clusterfuck only shorted us a few ships and part of the fleet was in process with salvaging them for FTL drives, fuel, FTL disruptors, inertial dampeners, shield generators, and databases containing flight logs and encryption keys.
After the update, I reconvened with my squad and gave them a run down on the status of the raid. Tarth already hopped up onto the refrigeration cart before I even got to it. Lazy ass.
We were still about a half mile out from our destination when Tarth perked up and swung his rifle around toward a concrete building. I trailed his the direction his rifle was pointing to see a rather peculiar sight. A white human pelt that was tied to a stick by the arms was being waved around. However, who was holding it was hiding behind part of the building.
Before I could say anything Tarth already sent a round through the pelt.
“OH SHIT. Uhh… Hey in human culture white flags are a universal symbol of “I give up. Please don’t shoot me” okay?”
My thoughts shot back to the four mutilated corpses I left back in the bomb shelter. Icy guilt crept down my back and left my tail with pins and needles. I sighed for a moment and waved Tarth to lower his gun.
“Alright human, come out slowly, we won’t shoot you.”
A fleshy claw-less hand poked out from the wall and waited.
I grumbled as the weak predator peaked out. “When I said slowly, I meant some time today. I have a schedule to keep.”
“Sorry. Was just taking it slow. Figured if someone with a hair trigger got any ideas, it’d be better to lose a hand than a life.”
The human was one of the paler variants. It had a smashed in muzzle like the rest of its kind. Not exactly what I’d call an apex predator, but I’d tolerate it. (It… He I think?)
He carried two large green storage cylinders on his back and was wearing the standard blue helmet uniform. At his hip was a belt carrying various bobbles and oh that’s a gun
“If your surrendering, why do you have a gun?”
“It’s for the crazy murder bugs with the flamethrowers. As long as you bunch are on the ball with killing them, you can have it.”
I grunted at Tarth and nodded him over to the human. He drew the sidearm from the humans holster and inspected it. Tarth being Tarth, then proceeded to start jabbing the human with the weapon gleefully. The human looked over to me pleadingly. He clearly wasn’t thrilled with having a gun poking into his gut.
I spoke up. “Tarth do you intend on wasting our time as well? Get over here. Human, you will stay within ten feet of him or me at all times. Don’t try to run off, I don’t need to explain what will happen if you try.”
Well, at least the human seems to be disciplined enough to not have an attitude.
Our procession continued as I introduced our first official human captive to Tarth and myself. The weaker “social predator” was just as chatty as my slightly defective friend to my disappointment. However, once the topic of our destination came up, my mercy started to pay off.
“You guys are going to the base? Yeah. Fuck that. Don’t go there. That place is an absolute shitstorm. Some empathetic dumb-asses started to let tilfish in so we could protect them from the scary Arxur. I naturally raided supply of their MREs and got the fuck out of there. Lo and behold, before I was even out the gate the tilfish started shooting and burning dudes. Never trust a fuckin’ bug.”
Tarth and I both chuckled at the idea of some empathetic prey lovers getting their comeuppance.
“Despite that, we are still going human. I was assigned to raid the base for goods and you already know where everything is. So try not to get shot or burned until after our objective is completed.”
The human looked dejected. “Well fuck… I should’ve stayed behind that wall. Are you absolutely sure you want to go there. All the functional ships evacuated early yesterday during your surprise attack on the planetary defenses.”
Tarth spoke up. ”Wasn’t much of a surprise really. Not even an hour into the assault and a human fleet of a thousand some odd ships popped in behind us.”
“The UN had an entire fleet show up within an hour of you guys arriving?
“Yes. Although it was pretty short lived. They disabled a few of our shields with some kind of bombs, but it really didn’t matter. We outnumbered them 8 to 1 and just threw a wall of plasma at them. Not a whole lot of defensive positions to be had out in space. Most of them tried to run, but we catapulted FTL disruptor buoys at them and burnt them all. I have no idea what their strategy was there.”
“...Cool. Good to know.”
“You should have seen it. Ships full of foolish humans turning into molten slag. Their corpses ejecting into space and bloating up from the vacuum. Some of them holding onto their pet prey. Maybe we’ll gather up the tasty prey carcasses later, the cold of space preserves meat nicely I hear. I swear I could hear the screams even in space. That’s what it’s like when weak predators try to pick fights with the Arxur. They weren’t smart like you, human.”
The human shut up after that. I suspect the thought of so many of his kin dying likely saddened him. To be fair, I would be too if those were my people. I mean, it sucks that so many sapients died, but I didn’t have a hand in it.
The entrance to the base was finally in sight. Tarth and the human lounged on the top of the refrigeration cart despite the irritated side glances from the others in the squad. I could smell the stench of burnt flesh wafting towards us from somewhere deeper in the base. It served as a good confirmation that the human wasn’t feeding us bad intel.
I was looking over to the human pleased when gray blood splattered out from the back of his helmet. It took me a second to realize we were being shot at. It took another for me to order my squad to take cover behind the sturdy carts. I ordered the auto-turret techs to deploy their toys to protect our flanks and rear.
Tarth, the human’s corpse, and I all crouched together behind the refrigeration cart. I’d never seen a dead body convulse in such a weird way before, desperately pulling off its helmet and cursing… Wait. What?
The air suddenly reeked of burnt hair and small wisp of smoke coming from the doffed helmet. Tarth gave the living corpse a weird look and shrugged. Questions later, not dying takes precedence.
Tarth and I ensured the aim assist in our rifles was toggled on and proceeded to dispense suppressive fire from behind the cart. Ideally, we could just point our weapons in our adversaries general direction and the rifle’s computer would do the hard part.
The human started panicking when a metal ball dropped next to us. He kicked the sphere away and started cursing in pain while holding his foot. No surprise there you moronic primate, those black leather foot coverings aren’t going to protect you when you punt a metal ball down the street. Wait... Did that ball just explode? Oh. Yeah. We got briefed on those things come to think of it. Good call monkey-man, your foot didn’t go bruised in vain.
As Tarth and I lowered ourselves back down to reload, we suddenly felt the smaller predator forcibly sandwich himself between us. He tightened himself into a tiny ball while wide eyed. I looked around our perimeter. There weren’t any hostile humans so what was his deal. Tarth’s breathing seized up as well, what the hell was going on?
It occurred to me at that moment the auto-turrets haven’t been updated to recognize any humans as friendly. I froze up and slowly looked at our flanks. Both turrets were pointing at us. I’ve never pissed myself before… But I got damn close.
The three of us just stayed there perfectly still for what felt like hours. It gave me enough time to think about many things in my life. All the things I haven’t done yet. I’ve never had the opportunity to sire my own clutch, the closest thing I have to a friend is a psycho that gravitates toward me because I’m the only one that tolerates his non-stop yapping, and how nice is it to finally feel the warmth of another pressed up against me. Holy crap what is wrong with me? Prophet, I’m sorry for being so defective. If you bail me out of this, I’ll do whatever you want, just give me a sign.
And the Prophet answered my prayer indeed. Some foolhardy humans finally went for our flanks and drew the ire of the auto-turrets away from us. As the BRRT of the turrets sounded off Tarth, being the absolute bastard that he is, dived away from us.
This left me and the human exposed to the turrets. My initial thought was to push the human over and dive away, so I pushed him over. As I readied myself to dive, I thought about those four in the shelter. How I robbed them of their lives and families. I just couldn't do that again. I can’t just pretend that it’s not my problem.
The human’s eyes showed such sadness from that impending betrayal. So I dived, hoping that I’d be able to hide him from the sensors on the auto-turrets.
Luckily, he was still balled up so it wasn’t terribly difficult to cover him with my body. I never felt so exposed in my life, doing this. I just laid there thinking, waiting, and wondering if my empathy was about to come back to bite me in the ass. This was all so off putting, being this close to another person. I wanted nothing more than to get up and walk away. I could hear his breath and the light tensing of his body. This wasn’t something that really happens with Arxur.
Eventually, the sound of gunfire died down. I heard people milling about, the hiss of medical foam being applied, and the louder hiss of angry Arxur having gunshot wounds treated.
“Uh. Sir?” I heard the confused words of one of the auto-turret techs.
“No no no. Leave him be. Can’t you see our dear leader is in love. Although, that is the UGLIEST woman I’ve ever seen.” I’ve never wanted to smack that annoying lazy ass more than at this moment.
I cleared my throat. “Solider, would you kindly deactivate the auto-turrets so our guide to the base doesn't get shredded by an angry machine.”
“Oh..? Yes. Right away sir.”
So I laid there, feeling a smug ass staring a hole into the back of my head. I recapped the events of the skirmish and lamented how I did so little. I only burned through one magazine with some sprayN’pray and that was it. Hell, the human saved a lot of our asses with that grenade save.
Speaking of the human. “Hey human? Why aren’t you dead? You just took a bullet to the head.”
“Uh. The helmets we wear are really good. They have this non-Newtonian fluid laced with perovskite crystals. Basically, the helmet is a fluid sack that hardens in response to physical trauma. It then converts kinetic energy into heat and electricity. These helmets can eat a .308 point blank. Only downsides are that they are one and done armors and that they’ll burn the shit out of you if they stay in contact too long.”
I’d never heard of such a thing before, but clearly it worked. I’ve seen prey attempt to use helmets with varying degrees of failure. Problem is, usually the brain gets shook around and they die anyway. I decided that this fluid would be beneficial to the Dominion.
I spoke up to get Tarth’s attention. “Tarth. Order anyone that isn’t busy to strip the human’s of their armor pelts and headgear. Place everything in the cargo cart next to the human’s green storage bags.”
Shortly after I gave out the order, the auto turret tech returned. “Varce sir. The auto-turrets have been deactivated.”
I Immediately popped up to separate myself from the smaller predator. Looking around it seems we had fared well enough against the ambush. Heh. Arxur being ambushed. Crazy times. We only lost 3 soldiers and have a handful of injuries. It could have been a lot worse. Even Tarth has some med foam sticking out of his arm.
The Arxur bodies were being loaded into the refrigeration cart. We’d look into harvesting their organs for transplants later.
The human looked over the bodies of his fallen kin. I decided it would be appropriate to talk to him about their deaths. The bodies had been stripped as ordered, although it appears someone got overzealous and stripped one of them of all there pelts. Wow. That is super gross looking. It’s just like, dangling around on the outside. What happens if it gets caught on something? Does it just tear off and regenerate? That’s just downright terrible design.
Getting myself back on topic. I turned to the human and spoke up. “So… Did you know any of these humans?”
“Uh… Yeah. To be honest. They were fucking elitist assholes. Doesn’t mean I wanted them dead though. It’s just well... This is all a fucking mess. They did shoot me in the back of the head though. So it’s kind of hard to not feel schadenfreude about the whole thing… Can I get a new helmet? Mine’s kind of busted right now.”
“Go for it. There should be some next to your stuff in the cargo cart.”
“Thanks. I mean… As in thanks for everything. You saved my ass in a big way. Not a whole lot of people would of done that for me… So thank you... Yeah.”
The inside of the base had seen better days. Some buildings had been destroyed either by the original raid or the human’s occupation. It also appeared that the exterminator’s fires got out of hand and had spread to the tent city the UN made for their troops. There were quite a few chard human bodies mixed in with the debris. I could certainly understand why the human had no desire to come back.
I got out of the refrigeration cart and announced to my squad. “Apply fire retardant measures. There may be exterminators in this base.”
My fellow Arxur and I pulled out small aerosol canisters and began dousing ourselves in the gelatinous contents. This substance would greatly reduce the flammability of the fuel the exterminators typically use, though the films covering us would oxidize and become useless after about 20 minutes. We needed to make a clean sweep of our travel path and secure the nearby maintenance hangar before then. I placed the spent canister back in my tail pouch and began driving again.
“So you’ve got one of those spray bottles for me, right?” The human looked over to me pleadingly. “Just sayin’. I’d like to not burn to death if at all possible.”
“Are you willing to strip naked and shave yourself?”
“This stuff only works if it forms a solid layer on you. It won’t work on fur and pelts.”
“Shit… Can I have my gun back then?”
We continued moving for about ten minutes per the human’s instructions. The intersection that would take us to our loot was finally in view. There were large industrial style buildings surrounding us from all sides. This was where minor ship parts like valves would be stored or milled out for ships. Lots of little doors and tight alleyways for the diminutive insectoids to scurry through. As such this was the perfect environment for exterminators to hide. I kept my eyes peeled for even the slightest movement.
My suspicions paid off immediately when I noticed some dumpsters that were conveniently lined up between two buildings. I know a barricade when I see one. I brought our caravan to a stop just out of weapons range of the prey’s fortifications. I checked the driver’s panel for life signs and smiled knowing my caution was justified.
I stood out of the drivers seat, silently motioning towards the dumpsters. Half of the squad formed up around the carts. The other half broke into groups and approached the dumpsters from multiple angles. My group consisted of Tarth, the human, and three other Arxur.
My group and I shouldered our rifles and began unloading into the dumpsters. The foolish prey actually thought they were going to get one over on us
. In moments tilfish started scrambling, desperately spraying the flammable contents of their weapons in the air towards us. Most of it fell short with only a few stray droplets touching us. We stood back at a comfortable range as the last few bugs dropped to the ground bleeding out in a pool of their own accelerant. One of the little abominations used the last of its pathetic strength to immolate the remains of it group.
A burst of flame pushed towards us, showering us with embers and half burnt debris. Our groups backed away from the intense heat and rapidly pawed off any unwelcome remains of the explosion. Well, except for the human, his left forearm was very on fire. With a surprising level of calmness, my human pulled a water bottle from his belt and doused the flame away.
He looked over to me and grumbled. “I probably should of stayed at the carts.”
“Probably. How did you even get that much fuel on your arm?”
“I didn’t. These uniforms are made out of acrylic and cotton. Very flammable. The UN thought it would be a good idea to have us peace keep against guys who almost exclusively use fire. I have many words about the UN. None of them are nice.”
“At least you handled being on fire pretty well.”
“I’ve seen about twenty people get caught on fire in the past week. I know the drill. Also, I’m gonna need some medical attention for this by the end of the day.”
-------------------------------- Fantastic, we’ve arrive at the maintenance hangar the human recommended and what do we find? More barricades and a bunch of life signs. Maybe I shouldn’t complain. I might be able to top off all my carts in one go.
I ordered my squad to surround the structure just as I had with the eugenics clinic. Though I had to stop the auto-turret techs before they accidentally lit up my human. I quietly pondered how I was going access the hangar with minimal gunfire. I didn't want to run the risk of accidentally damaging a spare FTL drive or something. I ultimately landed on the idea of just ramming through the door with the cargo cart to draw attention and then have the squad flank the inhabitants.
As one of my troops lined up their cart with the doors a shaky human voice called out. “Wait! We have missile warheads rigged to blow if you try anything!”
My human looked over to me and motioned he was going to the door. I allowed him to do so.
“Hey Lee, is that you?” My human questioned. “How are you holding up?”
“Hall? What the hell are you doing with the space nazi crocs?” (Who the hell is Hall? Oh, okay, that’s my human’s name. I should probably remember that.)
“You know. Trying to not die. Things are all kinds of FUBAR right now.”
“Things get rough and you just bail? All we had to do is hold down the fort and wait for rescue. And what do you do? You immediately defect to them. They literally eat babies. You abandoned humanity.”
“Lee. A UN fleet jumped into system one hour after the Arxur arrived.”
“So they tried to save us and you decide to run off?”
“No no. How long would it take for a fleet going FTL to get here assuming a distress signal was sent out the second the Arxur arrived?”
“… Are you saying that they knew the Arxur were coming and didn’t give us a heads up? But…”
“Look man. You’ve got to make your own decisions, but from where I’m standing you really only have two choices. Either commit suicide by Arxur or walk away from what your doing and survive. The Arxur are going to eventually try to trade us to the UN. I intend on living.”
“But what about the tilfish? Are you seriously fine with them being cattle?”
“If you want to die for some bugs that burnt Clark alive two days ago, then that's your call. See you later… Or not.”
My human didn’t respond. He just walked back over to me. After that brief exchange, he looked completely used up. It did help me to better understand his willingness to work with me though. All these humans planet side had effectively been left to die before we even arrived at Sillis. Most of them didn’t even know they were fighting for a government that withheld knowledge that could’ve saved them. They could have evacuated and saved so many sapient lives. So much for 5 humans for every 500 million xenos.
I waited long enough. It was time to crack this egg. As I gave the order to breach, I heard four consecutive gunshots come from the hangar. The cargo cart broke open the door and the side entrances were forced as well. I walked in behind the cargo cart and took stock of the situation. A somewhat tanned human was standing over three tilfish carcasses while brandishing its rifle towards a crowd of prey.
The human was seizing up saying. “Don’t move. I… I… I don’t want to die, okay! I… I’m sorry. It’s just that…”
The human trailed off murmuring nonsense. My human got his attention and led him out of the building. Given the degraded mental state of the disheveled human, that was probably best given what was going to happen next. I gave a quick look around, there was no “rigged warhead”, the “Lee” human had given us an empty threat.
The weak prey didn’t stand a chance as my fellow Arxur snatched them up, forcing them into the refrigeration cart. Shrill cries escaped the grotesque creature’s mouths as they were pressed against the Arxur bodies that were already in the cart. Perhaps more refrigeration carts should’ve been brought. The cart reached what was the “comfortable capacity” and there was still a third of the tilfish to go. So naturally, we just started pushing them in harder. Pops and cracks could be heard as chitin bent and broke from strain. Ear piercing noises echoed throughout the room as the little mindless bugs wailed. With one final push, we managed to load all of the bugs into the cart. The readout said we had collected about 18,200lbs of food. While the cart’s recommended weight limit had been exceeded, the thought of 250 Arxur getting to stave off starvation brought me so much joy.
I walked about the hangar inspecting all of the available loot. While I was disappointed by the lack of any FTL related equipment, there was however, an abundance of components for inertial dampeners and shields. My squad got to work loading up the two cargo carts as I went to check up on the two humans. I found them a short walk away from the hangar sitting together under a shade. The humans looked over to me when I approached them. Lee must have gotten more ill. His face was inflamed and red with looked to be signs of leaked fluid on his pelts. Wonderful. I’m going to have to take both of them to medical since this one is developing some kind of infection.
My human looked between Lee and me for a moment before speaking. “Lee. This is Varce. He is a supply officer on his ship and is currently in charge of retrieving ship parts from this base. Varce. This is Lee. He was in training to become an air force mechanic prior to being transferred to the UN to be cannon fodder.”
Seeing that Lee was hesitant to talk, I took the initiative. “Hello Lee, I’m Varce. We’ll be heading back to our ship here in a minute. I’ll run you guys by our doc and get you some acceptable sleeping quarters. As for food, we have two bags of human meals ready to eat available for you since you guys have certain dietary restrictions. Also, I’m going to need you to forfeit your firearms for now. Armed humans can be somewhat distressing for Arxur. I hope you understand.”
Lee glanced up to me. “Are we going to be traded back to the UN?”
“Yes. While the exact terms haven’t been decided yet. I’d hazard a guess that Chief Hunter Shaza will likely be trading you for artificial meat. We don’t eat people.”
The human scrunched up his face at that and handed over his weapons. The three of us then headed back to the carts so that we could depart. I did have to shoo Tarth off the overburdened refrigeration cart. He then started to try to pester the mentally unwell human. Luckily, my human lured him away before any harm could be inflicted.
Once we had returned to Cattleship Δ1242, the humans and I fished out the MREs and armor from the cargo cart. We went to my room to deposit the goods and then headed towards doc. I may have made a miscalculation on my path unfortunately. We passed by the caging area that was established for any captured enemy humans. It already housed several residents. Lee began to panic thinking that I was going to be placing him in there.
I stopped him and explained. “No Lee, listen. That’s for humans that try to kill us. I’m going to be re-purposing a supply closet for you two. Okay? ...That sounds worse than it actually is. It’s a nice supply closet. I’ll get you some nesting materials.”
My human started snorting and chuckling uncontrollably. I wasn’t certain if it was me or Lee that caused this.
We paid doc a visit and got my human patched up. The other one’s swelling had reduced back down during the trip back to the ship.
We would be departing soon. The ship had collected everything that it could for the time being, so our next destination would be a cattle farm on an old thafki colony planet. I hoped that things could go smoothly with the temporary integration of two humans. I’m going to need them for the ungodly big pile of ship components I’m about to have to enter into Dominion inventory.
That’s it for the time being. I’m not certain if I’ll do a follow up on this. This whole fanfic idea ended up happening thanks to Marcel’s magic helmet. I make no claim of being a decent write or proofreader. If you read this, it’s your own fault.
I am an asset protection associate for a large company and a relatively new fan of the hobby. When I go into most GW/LGS I find it is often a 1 man operation with a relatively large area to watch over. I also know that the profit of a store like this is roughly 5-7% after business expenses. I am curious of the impact of theft on such locations. So my questions are for anybody who has knowledge or experience on the subject.
GW/LGS Employees Have you ever encountered a theft at your store? How bad were the losses in the occasion of theft? Do you have a pursuit or detainment policy? What kind of tools do you have to combat stealing? Are you insured against it? Was there any personal or emotional damage suffered as a result of theft from your location? Do GW/LGS share any database or BOL(Be On Lookout) profiles on thieves? What is your opinion on shoplifters who target GW/LGS? Has theft impacted the operations at the store in question? If you have any other anecdotes or additional experiences or information you would like to share it is equally welcome.
GW/LGS Theft Witnesses Have you ever witnessed theft from a store and have you ever reported theft to staff? What is your opinion on shoplifters who target GW/LGS? Has theft impacted the operations at the store in question? If you have any other anecdotes or additional experiences or information you would like to share it is equally welcome.
So I used to work with Sam's for about 6 months in 2022 and they said they mailed my W2 but I never received it. Called my store location asking if I could just pick it up and said there is nothing they can do. What should I do?
My actual USPS post office was closed yesterday way earlier than I knew it closed, and I went to a UPS store at 2:30 ET.
I tried to find a 2/3 day equivalent of Priority Mail because I was trying to get it somewhere by the 28th.
They suggested I not worry about speed because it would only begin to ship Monday, but said it could still come to the 29th, despite being cross country (south to north).
That seemed impressive and was affordable so I did it.
As I walked out to my car I realized the recipient is leaving for a while that day, and she lives in downtown Philly where her porch/stoop is out in the elements, and her mailbox is fairly modest (it's a large manilla envelope, though flat and bendable).
I don't want it destroyed (I spent hours on the contents) nor do I wanna block out her normal mail since she'll be gone for a while.
I heard about intercept and while I don't have the quoted 117 dollars to overnight if I can, I'd heard one of the options is, hey, just don't go right to the house and kick it to whichever UPS location is closest.
The woman at the counter said yesterday evening was when I could follow it on my tracking to try, and it's coming up as a valid and correctly-typed code but not as being in their system.
Having received package before, I have tracked and gotten 1 or no updates and then magically received things.
If that's the availability of tracking this time, I may not get the chance but is there a best practices I can do to save the situation?
EDIT: I am a premium My Choice person if it helps.